Theses Doctoral

Interprofessional Competencies Among Dental Hygiene Students and Registered Dental Hygienists

Beall, Andrea

Interprofessional education is recommended as a necessary step to prepare a collaborative, practice-ready workforce to engage in effective teamwork and team-based care. Professional identity and the perceptions of stereotypes that professionals hold of other professions have been identified as key factors in either enhancing or inhibiting effective teamwork. Information about interprofessional collaboration and education, competencies, and related variables is limited, particularly within the profession of dental hygiene.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship of interprofessional competencies to professional identity and stereotypes among U.S. dental hygiene students and practicing dental hygienists.

The study used a correlational design with a cross-sectional survey utilizing the Student Stereotype Rating Questionnaire, Interprofessional Education Collaborative. Revised Survey, and Macleod Clark Professional Identity Survey-9 instruments. A total of 423 participants were recruited: 222 dental hygienists and 201 dental hygiene students. The survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, correlational analysis, independent and paired t tests, and multiple regression.

Dental hygiene students had a significantly higher interprofessional competency aggregated mean score than registered dental hygienists (t = -4.837). Dental hygiene students’ interprofessional education experience correlated positively with the Interprofessional Competency Revised Scale score (r = 0.290, n = 201, p < .01). There was a modest relationship between interprofessional practice experience and the Interprofessional Competency score (r =. 255, n = 222, p < .01).

The stereotypes dental hygienists and dental hygiene students have of themselves (auto-stereotypes) were rated the highest (M = 40.46, SD = 4.45) compared to stereotypes they have about dentists (hetero-stereotypes) (M = 37.57, SD = 6.03). The results of the multiple regression analysis, F (4, 418) = 16.805 p < .001, R2 = 0.14, showed that the variables of professional identity, interprofessional education activity experience, auto-stereotypes, and being a dental hygiene student were predictors of interprofessional competency.

This study contributes to a unique understanding of the relationship between interprofessional competencies to stereotypes and professional identity among practicing dental hygienists and dental hygiene students. With these findings, educators and policymakers can identify issues and address modifications to curricula, professional development, and organizational changes.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Health and Behavior Studies
Thesis Advisors
O'Connell, Kathleen A.
Dickinson, Jane K.
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
July 24, 2020